Andanappa Yalagi, the grieving father of Savita Halappanavar who died at a Galway hospital after being refused an abortion, is now speaking out calling for reform in Irish legislation regarding abortion rights.
Andanappa Yalagi spoke with The Observer, an Indian newspaper, about the recent death of his daughter Savita Halappanavar. Savita died in a Galway hospital after she was refused an emergency abortion when she was apparently miscarrying her first child. Doctors told her and her husband Praveen that Ireland is a “Catholic country,” thus preventing an abortion.
“Sir, please change your law and take consideration of humanity. Please change the law on abortion, which will help to save the lives of so many women in the future,” said Savita’s father to The Observer, directly addressing Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
"They are doctors but they were not humane,” Savita’s father said of the Irish doctors who treated Savita. “If they had been humane, they would have treated her. I do not want this to happen to other people. I am very angry."
He went on to ask the Indian government to demand action and answers from the Irish government: "We want the government of India to put pressure on Ireland to change the law so that this cannot happen in the future.”
Savita’s parents had been holidaying in Ireland just prior to their daughter’s death. They were forced to return home just two days before Savita died as their 90-day visa had expired. The last they saw of their daughter, she was in the hospital, not knowing how serious her situation would become.
Savita’s death has since made worldwide headlines, prompting outrage from both sides of the argument. While some are demanding revision of the current Irish legislation, others are saying that the rare case of Savita’s death should not be made an example.
The spokesman for the Delhi archdiocese in India told the Hindustan Times that while the church was against abortion, the priority should have been to save the mother. "You are not aborting the child. You are only taking steps to save the mother of the child," said Fr Dominic Emmanuel.
On Saturday, a rally was held in Savita’s remembrance in Dublin and had an estimated turnout of between 10 and 12,000 people. On Monday, a rally will be held in New York City. Other rallies have occurred around the world as well.
Moving to Ireland
After living in Ireland for almost one year, this is what I’ve learned